The historic rivalry of the two North American League of Legends giants, Team SoloMid and Counter Logic Gaming, is back in the limelight again as the two meet Sunday in the finals of the League Championship Series spring playoffs. They are the two oldest teams in North America, both playing since the very first season, and have always been apart of the LCS.
TSM is NA’s most successful team and is almost always near the top of the standings, usually being the frontrunner going into the season. It’s also the only North American team to have some success internationally. This season, TSM went with acquired veteran players to surround star mid laner Søren “Bjergsen” Bjerg. With a rocky start to the season, TSM seemed way over hyped. But in classic TSM fashion, it showed up to the playoffs, taking down the 17-1 Immortals in a 3-0 sweep Sunday to reach the finals.
CLG’s season was quite different. The returning champions came into the season with good amount of expectations, week in and week out proving to be a top team and a serious contender to win the entire split. CLG finished in second place and was the only team to defeat Immortals in the regular season. It took down a super hot Team Liquid in the semifinals to get here.
The rivalry goes all the way back to the beginning of League of Legends. Andy “Reginald” Dinh, owner and creator of TSM, was a high-ranking player who wanted to create a team for the sole purpose of beating CLG, which was, at the time, the best. CLG was created by George “HotshotGG” Georgallidis as the self-proclaimed best team in the world. CLG was the original powerhouse, winning mostly everything, most notably the first big tournament, WCG 2010. The following year, however. Regi’s team (then known as “Chicks Dig Elo,” later renamed TSM) would go on to win WCG 2011. Thus the rivalry was born.
In honor of the rivalry’s renewal and a rematch of last summer’s NA LCS championship, here’s a list of the six best moments, organized chronologically in the storied rivalry.
“Setting the Stage.” Season 1 World Championship Group Stage
In the Season 1 World Championship, TSM beat CLG in the group stage, forcing CLG to face off against the eventual champions, Fnatic. Due to later roster moves made by CLG, and despite TSM finishing higher into the tournament, fans believed that going into season 2, CLG was going to be the best team in North America. This game sets the stage for the future of the rivalry, as TSM would see much more success than CLG in the coming years.
“King of the Hill.” MLG Spring Circuit 2012
In 2012, TSM showed its status as the best team in North America, as CLG couldn’t get a first place finish. Starting off the year by beating CLG in the qualifier for IEM Kiev, TSM would eventually go on to dominate every regional tournament after the addition of Marcus “Dyrus” Hill. Going into the Season 2 World Championship, TSM was the heavily favored to win its bracket and be the sole hope for the West to beat the dominant Moscow 5. These games in 2012 showcased the new lineup with Dyrus, and show the dominance TSM had over the region for that year.
“The Meager.” MLG Anaheim 2013 LCS summer split
One of the most exciting games these two team ever had, while only being a regular season game. It shows just how CLG couldn’t get anything going that year. CLG didn’t make it to worlds in 2013, once again revealing who the superior team was at the time.
The end of this match gets crazy, though. With three inhibitors down, CLG tries to make a final push with only one member of TSM alive. The result is a must watch!
“Done-zo.” Semifinals of LCS spring 2014 playoffs.
Another great series with TSM coming out ahead yet again. TSM and CLG would not get a chance to play each other in the summer split, as CLG struggled to a sixth place finish and TSM finishing first. 2014 was not only TSM’s best year internationally since Season 1, but also NA’s in general with TSM and Cloud 9 reaching the quarterfinals. CLG was still the underdog, and TSM solidified its position as tops in the region.
“The Faithful Shall Be Rewarded.” 2015 LCS summer finals
The perfect stage was set: Madison Square Garden hosting the oldest rivalry in League of Legends history. After all the years of failing to keep pace, CLG finally rose from the ashes to dominate TSM in the 2015 Finals, solidifying the region’s No. 1 spot in going into worlds. Is the CLG Golden Age finally upon us? We might find out this weekend.
Cover photo courtesy of Riot Games.